M'sians Appalled By UMNO Leaders Who Joked About Child Marriage & Sex With Minors

The inappropriate jokes, which were made in 2018, resurfaced after Kedah passed an amendment to raise the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 18 in the state.

Cover image via Pahang Media TV (YouTube) & Ministry of HIgher Education

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Following the passing of an amendment to raise the minimum age of marriage at the Kedah state assembly, inappropriate sex with minors jokes made by two UMNO leaders in 2018 have resurfaced

The jokes were made by Pahang state executive council (exco) members — namely state religious affairs and education committee chairman Datuk Seri Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad and state tourism, culture, environment, plantation, and commodities committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin — during a state legislative assembly in 2018.

Their problematic jokes were brought up by DAP's Ketari assemblyperson Young Syefura Othman in a recent Facebook post when she lauded Kedah for passing the amendment to raise the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 18 on Monday, 18 July.

In the post, the DAP female representative wishes the Pahang state government could follow the footsteps of the PAS-led Kedah state government, before remembering the debate at the state legislative assembly in 2018 that was "unfortunately made into the subject of jokes and ridicule".

Although she did not reveal what the jokes were, a netizen on Twitter dug through the archive of the Pahang state assembly Hansard and found out the horrendous jokes that the UMNO men made at the assembly hall.

DAP's Ketari assemblyperson Young Syefura Othman.

Image via Astro Awani

Based on the Hansard, Syed Ibrahim said he would rather have an 11-year-old girl have sex with her 41-year-old husband within wedlock, which he said is halal, instead of sex outside marriage

Syed Ibrahim was recorded in the Hansard laughing as he said when an 11-year-old girl gets the necessary approval to get married, she prevents herself from having sex outside wedlock and the need to use a "condominium", which is a wordplay of the word 'condom'.

When Young Syefura said that girls at the tender age of 11 are not fit to get married as they are still "bermain-main" (playing) and watching cartoons, Syed Ibrahim responded by laughing and noting, "Bermain-main tu lah (Yes, that kind of playing)."

His response can be seen as if he was downplaying the issue of a child having sex as the word "main" in Bahasa Melayu can mean sexual intercourse as well.

It is understood that the issue was in reference to the controversial child marriage between a 41-year-old rubber trader and an 11-year-old girl in Kelantan that grabbed national and international attention in June 2018.

Pahang state religious affairs and education committee chairman Datuk Seri Syed Ibrahim Syed Ahmad.

Image via Berita Harian

Pahang state tourism, culture, environment, plantation, and commodities committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar.

Image via Muhd Asyraf Sawal/New Straits Times

The DAP leader continued to speak against child marriage, citing that the 41-year-old man was said to have had an interest in the girl since she was aged seven

"Using common sense, can you accept your child being liked by (an adult) when she is seven years old?" Young Syefura asked Syed Ibrahim, adding that such a marriage should not be allowed.

But instead of answering Young Syefura's question, Sharkar interjected and asked Young Syefura if she could accept it if her son was gay.

The controversial child marriage case in 2018 involving a 41-year-old businessman marrying an 11-year-old girl.

Image via Utusan Malaysia

The Hansard, which was first posted by Twitter user @cek_suhana, has since gone viral, with many other social media accounts reuploading the three-page document

@cek_suhana's post has received almost 5,000 retweets, while a reupload post by @inforakyatbiasa received 3,600 retweets.

Many netizens were appalled that the two UMNO representatives condoned paedophiles and "behaved like rape apologists" in the state legislative assembly.

"Wow... Nowadays we're more furious at unsolicited words (said) at comedy clubs than elected (assemblypersons who) openly [argued] for the underaged marriage of an 11-year-old girl [to] a 41-year-old man at the highest law-making platform in the country. If we can't protect children, then what is all of this (democratic system) for?" asked a Twitter user.

"They are like male animals in the hall. (Surprised that) the people of Pahang voted for these politicians," added another.

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Anonymously and confidentially report child sexual abuse content and non-photographic child sexual abuse images with IWF's Reporting Portal.

Here are other instances where authorities did not take enough steps in the fight against sexual harassment and rape jokes:

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